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Spotify Raises $526m in Buildup to Apple Music Battle

Tim Maytom

spotify on iosSpotify has just closed a massive round of funding that has seen $526m (£339m) invested in the music streaming service ahead of its upcoming battle with new competitor Apple Music.

The funding round, which sees the company valued at $8.53bn, will fuel the firm's investment in new forms of content, such as the recent announcement that it would be adding video content to its streaming service.

According to the Wall Street Journal, among the investors in the latest round of funding are asset management firms Baillie Gifford, Goldman Sachs and Rinkelberg Capital, as well as telecom operator TeliaSonera AB, which will be working with Spotify on media distribution, data analytics and advertising.

While the latest round confirms Spotify's status as one of the most highly-valued media streaming services (with over double the capitalisation of rival Pandora Media, which is valued at around $3.5bn), the company is still operating at a loss, due to revenue sharing with music label partners.

Spotify has been working hard to attract advertisers to its free offering, which displays banner, full page and audio ads to around 55m users, and has recently added the ability to target audience segments based on the playlists they are listening to. Meanwhile, it has around 20m paid subscribers, up from 10m a year ago, representing considerable growth in those willing to pay for its offering.

It's this audience that Apple is hoping to tap into with its high-profile launch of Apple Music, which is positioning itself as a largest rival to Spotify, and thanks to the power of Apple's brand, may well prove a challenge to the current king of streaming music.

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